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shure se535 + ipod frustration - needing advice

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hello everybody, I'm new here even though I've been lurking there forums for a while, now I've decided to write as I badly need a piece of advice from someone more expert than me. I hope I won't bore you out of your minds with this and that you'll be able to understand me despite my English.

 

I've received a pair of Shure se535  yesterday and I've been listening to them on my rockboxed ipod classic as that's what I'll be using them with, especially when I'm not at home. The sound, while not terrible, wasn't very good. Sure, I could hear a more detailed and spacious sound than with my previous iem (phonak's pfe 121) but the highs were terribly sibilant on vocals and sounds like cymbals sounded almost distorted, definitely not the experience I had expected.

I tried plugging the ipod on my sony hifi and listening through that to the same track, one where I had heard some of the most sibilance out of the ipod (dave matthews band's grace is gone, 320kbps mp3). I don't know if in this case the hifi was just working as an amplifier or as a new source but the result was so uncomparably better. The sound was warmer, there was no sibilance or distortion and I could definitely hear even more details (like some additional percussion sounds).

I tried again the same track on the laptop and phone, and while it wasn't as good as with the sony hifi, it definitely was a much better and more satisfying listening experience than out of the ipod.

 

Now my question is: can the ipod really be this bad in reproducing music and why haven't I had the same bad experience with other iems (it was never the best, but not this level of bad)? for instance the phonaks with black filters (=more bassy, slightly less highs and mids) sound better on the ipod than the shure. With the other sources it's the other way around, shure sounds so much better. Maybe shure iems are less forgiving of a bad source. Problem is, I've bought them to listen to them on a dap and the only one I own is the Ipod.

 

So now my options are:

-returning the shure (there's a 10 days free return policy) and just keep listening with the phonaks

-switch to a warmer iem that might give me less problems with the highs of the ipod (ie8 maybe?)

-buy a new dap (in this case I'd need one with lots of storage space, as I travel a lot and can't upload different music from home every day)

-maybe buy a portable amplifier? with my cheap fiio e5 there wasn't any major change in sound tho

-something else I haven't thought of?

 

Let me know, based on your experience, what you think I should do...

post #2 of 10
Could be the iPod Classic's output impedance of 5.5Ω. With my Shure SE425s, I get a 1.5dB boost in high frequencies. Maybe the impedance curve on the 535s is more pronounced?

If that's the problem, you could lower the output impedance to near 0Ω with a decent headphone amplifier, or use Rockbox's EQ to lower the high frequencies, or use something like a Sansa Clip+ (0.5Ω output impedance).

Edit: I missed the part where you said that you tried with the E5. So I don't know.
Edited by skamp - 1/22/13 at 7:27am
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by skamp View Post

Could be the iPod Classic's output impedance of 5.5Ω. With my Shure SE425s, I get a 1.5dB boost in high frequencies. Maybe the impedance curve on the 535s is more pronounced?

If that's the problem, you could lower the output impedance to near 0Ω with a decent headphone amplifier, or use Rockbox's EQ to lower the high frequencies, or use something like a Sansa Clip+ (0.5Ω output impedance).

 

Thank you very much for your reply, I'm not an expert so I don't know much about impedance and such but I guess that might be the problem or at least part of it, as with other sources I'm not having the same problem.

Right now I've tried to use the volume control that was shipped with the iems and should also work as an inline resistor (no idea what that is, i just read here that it might work with my problem with the 535s) and so far it sounds like there is some improvement.

And yes I've also tried lowering the higher frequencies with rockbock, which helped but didn't completely solve the problem.

I'll see if i can get my hands on a Sansa Clip+ to try and see how that works.

As for a decent headphone amplifier, would they all lower the output impedance or would I have to buy a specific one? And in either case, do you have any suggestions about that?

post #4 of 10
The FiiO E5's impedance is only 0.7Ω, so if that didn't solve the problem, then it lies elsewhere, and the Clip+ likely won't help either. I've learned in a recent thread that apparently, some people hear annoying sibilance where others don't. Different sensitivities? Defective units? I don't know, and I'm afraid I can't help beyond that.
post #5 of 10

I think you have many choices here to improve the soundquality like buy iMod iPod with decent AMPs like E11, C421, iBasso T5 and IEMs like RE0, image X10, the sound wilbe amazing with reduce sibilance and more detailed. Also Cowon X7 are very good sounding DAPs with large capacity, the other recommendation is buy AMPs like above and use line out on iPod classic and Pure Cryo or Cryo X Silver dock cable with Shure SE535. BTW if you great soundquality without any peaky highs then RE272, GR07, UE TF10Pro and Sennheiser IE80 are highly recommended.

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by skamp View Post

The FiiO E5's impedance is only 0.7Ω, so if that didn't solve the problem, then it lies elsewhere, and the Clip+ likely won't help either. I've learned in a recent thread that apparently, some people hear annoying sibilance where others don't. Different sensitivities? Defective units? I don't know, and I'm afraid I can't help beyond that.


Thanks anyway!

The more I listen to the ipod with the simple shure volume control between the ipod and the iems' stock cable the more I realize the sound has definitely improved and while straight out of the hifi the sound is still better than the ipod (duh), I can enjoy listening to the ipod now.

I still have no idea why just a simple a thing as this has helped so much, and if and how I can make it sound even better (better amp, new cables, who knows), but i'm sure happier.

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZARIM View Post

I think you have many choices here to improve the soundquality like buy iMod iPod with decent AMPs like E11, C421, iBasso T5 and IEMs like RE0, image X10, the sound wilbe amazing with reduce sibilance and more detailed. Also Cowon X7 are very good sounding DAPs with large capacity, the other recommendation is buy AMPs like above and use line out on iPod classic and Pure Cryo or Cryo X Silver dock cable with Shure SE535. BTW if you great soundquality without any peaky highs then RE272, GR07, UE TF10Pro and Sennheiser IE80 are highly recommended.


Thanks for all those infos, it's much appreciated. I'll make sure to read about all those suggestions you gave me.

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

I'll add a comment to this post, first to thank everyone helping me with my questions and secondly because i think i have figured out what is happening.

The problem is indeed the impedance of the source that gives the se535s a different frequency response but it's actually that higher impedance results in less present highs and hence less sibilance and less "distortion". I am probably very sensitive to this so that is why I prefer the warm sound of the se535s coming from my sony cd player and laptop (very high impedance), less on the ipod, and even less on the sansa clipzip (I've got my hands on one), which has the lowest impedance of all the source I've tried.

What is happening when I add the inline resistor/volume control to the ipod is that (I'm guessing, I haven't tested it out), it adds to the impedance and makes the sound warmer (less highs, tho I think the bass is more or less the same to my ears). I like this kind of sound.

Now my problem is, since I have a couple more days to decide if I should keep the se 535s or send them back for a full refund (minus shipment cost). Would it be better for me to try a different kind of iems, warmer sounding but less dependent on the impedance of the source (IE8 maybe?) or should i keep my current rig which is indeed satisfying minus the minor nuisance of not being able to use low impedance sources (some headphone amps and daps)?

I'm asking also because the volume control of the se535s is already breaking after less than 2 weeks of normal use and I need it to improve the sound of the ipod for me, but if I am going to have to change it so often it's gonna be much more than a nuisance. I'll be asking Shure for a replacement if I decide to keep the iems.

 

What do you guys think? Any suggestions on the matter?
 

post #9 of 10

what generation is your ipod? If it's 5.5g or older get it imodded at Red Wine Audio if you have the spare cash. If not, get an LOD L9 from FIIO and a decent amp and it should do the trick.

Buy a good portable amp like pava2 or hippo cricri+

post #10 of 10

you can kill the sibilance by using the olive tips that come along with it 

 

- comply tips is also fine and reduce the sibilance a lot.

Quote:
I think you have many choices here to improve the soundquality like buy iMod iPod with decent AMPs like E11, C421, iBasso T5 and IEMs like RE0, image X10, the sound wilbe amazing with reduce sibilance and more detailed. Also Cowon X7 are very good sounding DAPs with large capacity, the other recommendation is buy AMPs like above and use line out on iPod classic and Pure Cryo or Cryo X Silver dock cable with Shure SE535. BTW if you great soundquality without any peaky highs then RE272, GR07, UE TF10Pro and Sennheiser IE80 are highly recommended.

 

 

the E11 has a frustrating hiss with the SE-535 and you need a really good amp - from C421 to ALO RX-MK3 to really make these shine..

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